LAAA to hold marathon championships
THE Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) will hold its annual National Cross Country Championships in Mohale’s Hoek on 20 February 2016.
According to LAAA Public Relations Officer, Sejanamane Maphathe, the competition would be a platform for the association to select a team of athletes that will represent the country at the African Cross Country Championships to be held in Ethiopia in March.
“We are expecting athletes from our 10 districts to compete for a place in the team that will par- ticipate at the continental cross country championship in March,” Maphathe said.
“This is also part of our programme to identify young talent and nurture it to realise its full potential.”
The LAAA spokesperson said they were also on the lookout for the team that will represent the country at the Olympic Games in Brazil later this year.
“The aim is to continue looking for young talent so that we have a big pool of quality athletes that can represent the country well in major sporting competitions,” said Maphathe.
“There is a lot of talent across the country, and it is just a matter of giving them the platform to showcase it.
“It is going to be a long year with the Olympic Games also coming up.”
He said only sprinter Mosito Lehata had qualified for the Olympics.
“Lehata is the only athlete that has qualified for the Brazil games on merit, so we still have a challenge in finding more athletes that will compete in the Olympics,” Maphathe said.
“So as things stand, we need to take our athletes to various compe- titions in order to book a ticket to Brazil. As a result, we might have runners taking part in a marathon to be held in South Africa next month.”
He added: “High jumper Lerato Sechele is currently in a training camp in Senegal and can also qualify for the Rio games, so we keeping our options open since we need to have at least six marathon runners in both the male and female categories.
“We will also stage a series of track events in the upcoming months as part of the scouting programme and also give the athletes a platform to compete.”
The Mauritius-based Lehata told the Lesotho Times this week that he has been working hard to make up for a disappointing 2015 in which he struggled with injuries and also failed to win any medal at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships and All Africa Games held in China and Congo, Brazzaville respectively.
“I really want to do well at the Olympics because I feel I owe it to my country after a disappointing 2015,” Lehata said.
The sprinter added that he was preparing for his first race in 2016 at the end of February.